Discovery on Darwin's IslandsUnknown - 1988
Released in 1943, Air Force was immediately hailed as the definitive "patriotic heart-throb in celluloid" that America, engulfed in war and passionately bent on victory, was primed to embrace. Lawrence Suid charts the evolution of this cinematic success in his introduction to the screenplay, tracing the tangled network of artistic, military, and nationalist interests that molded this film and made it, even after the martial fervor had settled, a standard against which all future films about war would be measured.
Throughout the filming, there was tension between the aims of the War Department and those of Howard Hawks. Hawks would ultimately produce more than stilted propaganda: it is the skillfully modulated tension, the ambience of men in war, and the total immersion in action and adventure that make this a Hollywood classic still savored and studied today.